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HSS8123; More Models

*Finally got around to posting this now that the blog is back up and I’m not as swamped with the project itself.

It has been a grind, sometimes literally, but finally starting to get the models in place. Though I’ll likely only be using one, I’ve luckily been able to get some very basic clay sculpting lessons from a friend and have made a few extra tests to get a good feel for size, flexibility, and durability. many of these models are too small to properly use an armature, a vital part of the process. Indeed, many of the hurdles of this project have so far revolved around scale.

If there is one thing I am quite unhappy about with this final model is a lack of hubcaps on the wheels of the chair. I tried glue, a cleaner option, but the material used in the printing process is not very conductive to adhesion, and thus I’ve been forced to use clay as a means of keeping the wheels from falling off. Even that isn’t perfect, and they often have to be adjusted after a little rolling. They are, however, functional, which at this point I will happily take.

HSS8123; Sets and Models

*Finally got around to posting this now that the blog is back up and I’m not as swamped with the project itself.

 

Having ideas is one thing, making them physical is entirely another. Although I am happy with the ideas I’m currently running with, they have presented many of their own time consuming issues which need to be overcome. On a more positive note, over the past few weeks I’ve at the very least been able to gather most of the materials I’ll need for a set and been able to stitch plans together now knowing how much space I have to work with. The primary idea is to have two sets, one in white to represent the sterile environment of a laboratory while the other is to be of the outside, in a desert and scrapyard to be precise.

Playing around with arts and crafts to see what works.

Prop and environment making. Here we have a computer made from an old alarm clock. The surgery table is made from the back of the same clock, while the arms are wires, floss brushes, and coloured beads.

However, though set building may be going well, model making is not. In the previous post I talked about the prospect of making my main character wheelchair bound, alleviating many of the technical necessities normally part of making stop-motion. However, 3D printing such a chair has been proving to be a headache too; the printer does not work well with small parts, and any item needs to be of a certain scale for a successful print to take place. Getting the chair and accompanying axle and wheels to a size that isn’t too big for my sets or props, but which could also be printed to a decent standard so as to still fit together is proving to be very demanding. Given the speed of printing, this also means many hours are going down the drain.

Early model for a chair. At first glance this may seem perfectly functional, but getting axles and wheels to go with it at such a small scale is proving impossible.

A larger model. Better on scale, but an error near the end of printing meant the chair was not finished.

As exciting a technology as 3D printing is, it’s still very much taking its baby steps, at least as far as our printer is concerned. Beyond the often excruciating time needed to print anything, trying to print anything smaller than an inch is prone to failure. Sometimes this applies even to items on larger scales – the printer is prone to jamming and other errors, and when one such failure occurs the entire print needs to be started again. After, of course, a lengthy repair period.

HSS8123; Sets and Models

*Finally got around to posting this now that the blog is back up and I’m not as swamped with the project itself.

 

Having ideas is one thing, making them physical is entirely another. Although I am happy with the ideas I’m currently running with, they have presented many of their own time consuming issues which need to be overcome. On a more positive note, over the past few weeks I’ve at the very least been able to gather most of the materials I’ll need for a set and been able to stitch plans together now knowing how much space I have to work with. The primary idea is to have two sets, one in white to represent the sterile environment of a laboratory while the other is to be of the outside, in a desert and scrapyard to be precise.

Playing around with arts and crafts to see what works.

Prop and environment making. Here we have a computer made from an old alarm clock. The surgery table is made from the back of the same clock, while the arms are wires, floss brushes, and coloured beads.

However, though set building may be going well, model making is not. In the previous post I talked about the prospect of making my main character wheelchair bound, alleviating many of the technical necessities normally part of making stop-motion. However, 3D printing such a chair has been proving to be a headache too; the printer does not work well with small parts, and any item needs to be of a certain scale for a successful print to take place. Getting the chair and accompanying axle and wheels to a size that isn’t too big for my sets or props, but which could also be printed to a decent standard so as to still fit together is proving to be very demanding. Given the speed of printing, this also means many hours are going down the drain.

Early model for a chair. At first glance this may seem perfectly functional, but getting axles and wheels to go with it at such a small scale is proving impossible.

A larger model. Better on scale, but an error near the end of printing meant the chair was not finished.

As exciting a technology as 3D printing is, it’s still very much taking its baby steps, at least as far as our printer is concerned. Beyond the often excruciating time needed to print anything, trying to print anything smaller than an inch is prone to failure. Sometimes this applies even to items on larger scales – the printer is prone to jamming and other errors, and when one such failure occurs the entire print needs to be started again. After, of course, a lengthy repair period.

HSS8123 – Success!

Well, that didn’t take long. In fact, it took less than a minute for an unlisted video to get blocked, so either the ghost of Prince was standing right behind me when I uploaded it, or it YouTube’s algorithms are pretty good at policing video content. Good to know.

HSS8123 – …aaand we’re back!

Which is to say the course blog is back up and I’m back, with two weeks off from my new job to really knuckle down and make all the scattered ideas from the last few months into a coherent reality.

Here are the three posts that went up on my other blog while this one was down: one to introduce my degree project on my personal blog, two a poem about theft by David Weinburger (which I discovered while researching and really resonates with what I’m trying to do) and three excerpts from my final project.

And finally, some more teasers in the form of video/image collages that came about as a byproduct of the poems I’ve been writing:

More documentation and excerpts to follow, although I might find myself focusing more on the dissertation as opposed to writing the kinds of explanatory posts I normally do. We’ll see, I’d like to write something about the Oulipo and Lawrence Lessig, and maybe some of the bits and bobs of plagiarism that I don’t feel like I’ll be able to give enough context in the work itself.

 

 

Creative Project – Post 7

And so it begins.

I staged several experiments of how best  to burn and destroy the photographs. Having left the previous experiments for a matter of months, there was no change. My erasing was mostly a failure other than the bleach. Therefore bleach was carried forward to the next round of experiments (diluted bleach, as I learned from last time.)

In this round of experiments the following took place:

  • Glue on the back, bleach and burn the front
  • Wallpaper paste on the back and front (to distort)
  • Paste on back and front bleach and burn
  • Paste on back and front bleach
  • Paste on back and front burn

The following images depict the results:

 

I found that the best result was achieved by using paste on the back, and several layers on the front, followed by burning with the blow torch. The paste must be left for several days between layers and burning so that it is set.

Creative Practice – Post 6

“WHERE IS THE BURNING?” – It’s coming soon, but in the meantime here’s what I’ve been reading, watching looking at etc.

Hollis Frampton – Nostalgia (1971)

A film in which Frampton burns photographs, while a narration provides a description for the upcoming photograph simultaneously.

 

For a bit more context, I’ve also been reading the following about Frampton’s work. They have been insightful, not only with understanding the nature of destruction within art and burning the photographs, but also the disjunction created by the narrative with the audio and visual components portraying a different narrative.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/32555396/Segal_UT_publication.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1502538685&Signature=PitrkrsUD2c2xfuoIJ95sWJfJHw%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DFrom_the_Private_to_the_Public_Photograp.pdf

http://www.jstor.org/stable/20687561?seq=3#page_scan_tab_contents

https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=7oaop4ekuEMC&oi=fnd&pg=PR6&dq=hollis+frampton+nostalgia&ots=dtwSu01AMo&sig=JARDS0m5JN5xAGHE797FWRYXPGM#v=onepage&q=hollis%20frampton%20nostalgia&f=false

Auto-destructive art and Gustav Metzger

I have also been reading articles and viewing artworks that would fall under the category of Auto-destructive art, taking inspiration from the pioneering artist in the movement Gustav Metzger in particular.

Of all the work I viewed, one in particular, in conjunction with the line of one quote, had an impact on my outlook towards this project more than any other did.

“The important thing about burning a hole in that sheet was that it opened up a new view across the Thames of St Paul’s cathedral. Auto-destructive art was never merely destructive. Destroy a canvas and you create shapes.”

Recreation of First Public Demonstration of Auto-Destructive Art 1960, remade 2004, 2015 Gustav Metzger

An integral part to my work is the view, and challenging perceptions of how domestic photographs are viewed. I have taken a large amount of inspiration from how Metzger perceived the destruction of the sheet altered how a view was observed. It has encouraged me to experiment with using a sheet to cover my photographs, and in turn destroy the sheet as a metaphor for breaking down the concealment within domestic photography and the family album, and also as an expression of looking at the images with an alternative view.

Creative Project – Post 5

“The Erasure… Or…?”

Somewhere along the lines of experimentation I decided that I didn’t like the way that the project was progressing. The Erasure is something that I will no doubt go back to, however, I feel like I need to both broaden and reduce the scale of it simultaneously.

So where does that leave me?

I believe that in order to do The Erasure justice, and to truly comprehend the effects of land displacement, I need to take a step back and look at the wider picture of my heritage, family background, and family album on the whole. I am using it as a tool without necessarily first understanding what it contains and how it can be used as a tool. This is where the Creative Project become a new project entirely – or at least a different branch of the project.

From here I began looking at the theory of family albums. Jo Spence and the Social Album in particular, which is demonstrated through her 1979 work Beyond the Family Album. (See link for details)

http://www.jospence.org/beyond_family_album/beyond_family_album_thumbs.html

The Social Album presents the idea that there is a large amount being screened out of domestic photography and the family album. Families are indoctrinated with the idea that they must only present a positive impression of their life and the negative aspects cannot be displayed or documented. In opposition to this, the Social Album celebrates all aspects of family life and therefore can be used as a genealogical tool to understand the lives as lived of those before us.

In the shifting direction of the project, I therefore decided to create a response to the Social Album using my own family album. I have decided to use four frames, each incorporating a different theme of the Social Album. Cragside is the starting point, as this was the starting point of the initial project. It presents what an idyllic family life appeared to be, as this is the impression Cragside has always given me. Over the last 23 years I have romanticised it to the extent that I have created my own Domestic Myth. However, the frame speaks of displacement, and other negative aspects of family life that in my romanticised vision, I did not usually associate with Cragside. This includes untimely deaths, miscarriages, unwed mothers (in the 1930s shock horror) and hidden adoptions. The following 3 frames deal with adultery & divorce, breakdown of family ties, and illness & death. The images used are symbolic of the themes and do not depict them explicitly, as my family album mirrors the traditional albums that do not show negative aspects of family life.

I aim to approach this as an investigation: is it possible to create a full Social Album and not exclude negative aspects that one would otherwise hide? Can the family album be used as a genealogical tool if it does not give an accurate overview of the family life? Can a Social Album (or a reverse Social Album) be read within the family album through absences and negations? People disappear from the albums – why is this? Can a narrative be uncovered through learning how to read beneath the surface of each image and the album as a collective?

Next: experimentation. I have ordered a blow torch and plan on experimenting with how burning can be included in the work.

 

Creative Project – Post 4

“Dissolve my pretties!” – Me (2017)

The second round of dissolving photographs had a much more immediate impact than the first round did. I predicted that the bicarb and vinegar mixture would have some immediate effect, however, they didn’t. Which was disappointing. I thought that once the foam settled it would leave some form of alteration on the image. How disappointing…

 

Bleach, however. The dissolving with bleach is my new favourite effect. It is immediate and once all of the image has ran, it is left as an entirely erased white piece of photo paper. It was quite astounding to watch.

The result of this experiment was much closer to the effects of Seung Hwan Oh – Impermeance (2012) (see Post 2). I like this look, although it may be difficult to preserve the photograph with this effect in the long term as the bleach eventually leads to a complete erasure. This could be further experimented with as different dilutions of the bleach. The physical act of immediate erasure could also be incorporated into a performance element within the exhibition itself.

Creative Project – Post 3

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 19.06.13

The Erasure – Experiment 1

There is something strangely cathartic about drowning a photo in red wine.” – Me (2017)

My bulk order of photographs has arrived. All versions of the same photo, which over the course of this project will be mutilated, mauled, drowned and otherwise abused as a means of illustrating a tangible reflection of erased personal connections to landscapes, memories and material objects.

This first experiment is done using what I found lying around in my kitchen. Eventually I’ll progress to using harsher chemicals and substances, but as a control I wanted to see how the photographs reacted to everyday liquids. I have also placed a photograph in my South facing window to see how much of an effect sunlight and fading has on it.

Annoyingly the photos didn’t fit into my scientific containers (Chinese takeout tubs) and had to have their edges trimmed and rounded.

Red wine

Anyone that has ever received a gift from me will know that I save up all of the bottles of wine I’m given for Christmas and re-distribute them as gifts to other people throughout the year. As there are no upcoming birthdays, celebrations or whatever, I thought I might as well put the nasty red wine to good use. Pouring red wine over the photograph was oddly cathartic. I’m not a wine drinker/enjoyer, so this is probably the most fun I have ever had with wine, which says more about me and my idea of a good time than it should. But red wine is one of those shady bastards that you’re never meant to spill on anything because YOU WILL NEVER GET IT OUT! So intentionally pouring it over something with the purpose of destroying said thing was so freeing. I don’t think white wine would have had the same effect.

Boiling water

The boiling water was the only liquid to have an immediate effect on the photo. It immediately became flaccid and lost paper quality. In the long term, I think this will most likely change the least.

Bison grass vodka

The awful vodka someone gave me as a 21st birthday present finally has a use, almost 3 years later. This experiment essentially became a way to get rid of the unwanted alcohol that has been sitting at the back of my kitchen cupboards. Apparently mixes well with apple juice (the bottle lies about this, it tastes bloody awful and has grass floating in it.)

The solutions will now sit and wallow until something happens. Afterwards they will be air dried, and potentially sculpted into something, depending how they look. There are 5 months until they’re due to be submitted so they have plenty of time to form cultures or dissolve or sit there and not do anything. (Yes this was written in March but scheduled to be posted in July because I’m predicting that I will have no free time during the summer). According to the North-East Document Conservation Centre:

Photographs in water will quickly deteriorate: images can separate from mounts, emulsions can dissolve or stick together, and staining can occur. Mold can grow within 48 hours at 60% relative humidity and 70°F, and it often causes permanent staining and other damage to photographs.‘ [https://www.nedcc.org/free-resources/preservation-leaflets/3.-emergency-management/3.7-emergency-salvage-of-wet-photographs Last Accessed 10th March 2017]

So hopefully something should happen if they are left submerged for long enough. There are 5 months until they’re due to be submitted so they have plenty of time to form cultures or dissolve or sit there and not do anything. (Yes this was written in March but scheduled to be posted in July because I’m predicting that I will have no free time during the summer).

Also a little shout out to the really cool way the water one reflects back onto itself. May have to experiment with projecting into water.

Coming up next time… Vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. Plus maybe a little dabbling with bathroom cleaner and bleach. Perhaps adding salt to the water solution to see if this has any effect.

Once I have sourced better containers and better chemicals to play around with this should get more exciting. Going back to Jennifer Bouchard’s work from the last post, I may also begin to play around with physically manipulating the photographs using temperature – sticking them in the microwave, oven, freezer etc.